Friday, July 2, 2010

What You Need to Know to Take Advantage of eBay's Best Match

Best Match on eBay is a complicated search algorithm that helps buyers shop from the best sellers on eBay first. It has been eBay's default search for more than a year now.

The main criteria that affect your ranking for any type of listing in any category via Best Match are:
  • Seller track record
  • Competitive pricing and shipping costs
  • Relevance of the listing to what the buyer is looking for

eBay says there is no "silver bullet" that will get you ranked on page one, but I guarantee there are some definite areas that you need to look at and fix if you want a fighting chance at beating the competition. These variables are not consistent across all categories and eBay constantly updates them as it learns more about how the buyers search and what they are looking to purchase.

Auction-style listings are treated a bit differently than fixed-priced listings in Best Match search. The main ranking factor for auctions would be time ending soonest. This means that doing research using a tool like Terapeak on "best ending times" is still in effect for this type of listing.

For fixed-priced listings, the main factor is sales-to-impressions ratio, also called "Listing Performance Score." An impression is when a buyer sees a page that includes your listing. Newly listed fixed-priced items get a temporary bump in search to help level the playing field. Also, time recently listed is an important factor for fixed-price listings in the following categories: Art, Antiques, Coins & Paper Money, Collectibles, Dolls & Bears, Pottery & Glass, Toys & Hobbies, Stamps, Sports Memorabilia, Cards & Fan Shop and Entertainment Memorabilia. Hey, I didn't say this was going to be easy.

Grouping identical items into one listing not only helps you save on fees, but it may also increase your sales-to-impressions ratio.

Best Match love
Here are some factors that will help your items get some Best Match love and a possible bump in search:

  • Price competitively: You can utilize the completed listings on eBay to find out what successful listings similar to yours are selling for on eBay.
  • Shipping cost: This doesn't always mean free shipping, although that helps in many categories. This also has to do with keeping your shipping costs within an acceptible range.
  • Impressions versus sales: Grouping identical items into multi-quantity/multi-variation fixed-priced listings not only helps you save money on fees, but it may also increase your sales-to-impressions ratio for your listing.
  • Relevancy: This refers to keywords in your title and attributes. My last article talked quite a bit about locating the right keywords to have in your title. You can pick up a refresher course here. Also make sure you fill out as many item attributes as possible using Item Specifics.
  • Your seller rating: Seller ratings include Top-rated, Above Standard and Standard. Being a Top-rated seller will give you an increase in search. Now, that doesn't mean that someone who isn't a Top-rated seller won't be ahead of you due to relevancy, pricing, or other factors, but it does give you a competitive advantage.

Even with all of this there is no guarantee, but these are the factors we know are included in how you rank in eBay's Best Match. Your best option right now is to utilize your built-in Store and eBay Reports and completed listings to consistently check on these factors and test them on your inventory. Of course there is another way…

Use the eBay Search Visibility Analysis tool in My eBay to find out how a specific item of yours is being ranked on the first page of search for:

  • Price range
  • Shipping cost range
  • Free shipping (or whether you need to offer this for a page-one bump)
  • Format (should you offer auction-style or fixed-priced?)
  • Seller rating (for this item, in this category, will being a Top-rated Seller provide you small advantage or a big advantage for showing up on the first page?)
  • Catalog product details (is this an item that utilizes features from eBay's catalog?)

Search visibility analysis provides information on factors that affect where your listing ranks in search results.

Condensed blog post from Auctiva Education.

Auctiva is an eBay Certified Solutions Provider offering listing management solutions and features for beginner -to mid-to high-volume eBay sellers.


Anonymous said...

I think that so called best match, is nothing but an ebay search manipulation, and should be banned and is a pathetic joke.

Anonymous said...

I use to sell on eBay via ArtJunquie. But, my rare vintage antiques & collectibles no longer make it to the marketplace because of eBays poorly overdeveloped software. BEST MATCH needs to be ditched. eBay needs to return to its initial offering of an electronic marketplace where a sellers ad is listed appropriately, not on the bottom rung of a filter that has reduces traffic to a halt. NOTHING is moving except for eBay sellers to other venues; yahoo, amazon, bonanzle, rubylane, etc. "Somebody WAKE-UP the CEO as their board meetings have crippled business!" And the stores? What a joke! Traffic has been driven off of eBay, and NOT to the RARE and UNIQUE!